Interview Exclusive MARCA interview with the forward
Rodrigo Moreno has given an exclusive interview to MARCA from Leeds, where he is happy, playing regular football and learning every day from his Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Bielsa has worked around the world, but is currently enjoying success in England and Rodrigo explained what makes the tactician so special.
Are you happy with your goal tally in the Premier League, of three goals in 15 matches?
“I would like to have more, but I think I’m playing well. Here at Leeds, I play in a different way, more like a third midfielder, trying to get in to the box as much as I can. COVID-19 meant I missed a few games, but I’m loving life at Leeds. This project makes you feel like you’re at a big club with a great potential to grow.”
Just how weird is Bielsa?
“He analyses everything, he doesn’t miss a single detail and always tries to be prepared for every possible situation that could happen in a game, depending on the characteristics of who we’re playing. He’s very demanding and always wants you to be hard-working both offensively and defensively.”
Your early days with him weren’t easy. There was the penalty against Liverpool and being subbed when you didn’t expect it…
“Marcelo has a different way of understanding situations in the game. It’s quite normal for him to take a player off at half time or after 25 minutes. He also might put you on and then take you off after just 10 minutes. These are maybe things that you don’t see very often. He doesn’t think much of it at all. He doesn’t do it to upset people, but for the benefit of the team.”
Is Bielsa-ism a myth or reality?
“It’s a myth that has become reality [laughs]. He has a unique way of working, a much more analytical methodology. It’s totally different to anything I’ve ever come across before. He’s completely committed to his style and the way he wants his teams to play.”
How does he speak to you? Can he be a bit full on?
“He’s never called me at a crazy hour in the morning or anything like that. Marcelo tries to have a very professional relationship with the players and doesn’t get involved in personal stuff. He’s very direct and treats everyone with respect, but he only focuses on the sporting side of things. He never, for example, called me and asked me to come to Leeds, but I know he was involved when Victor Orta [the club’s Spanish sporting director] got in touch with me. He’s the type of coach who make sure he doesn’t get too involved with that side of things with a player. In the day to day, though, he’s very demanding of everyone.”
Does he have a laugh?
“Not every day, but he does have his lighter moments. He isn’t serious every day.”
How has he improved you most?
“Marcelo always wants our play to be based on individual battles which happen on the pitch: a striker with a central defender, for example. In a short time, I’ve grown a lot in this aspect. When a player isn’t on it, defensively or going forward, the team notices.”
Who do you think is favourite to win the Premier League?
“The lack of fans is having a big effect and it’s levelled the playing field a lot. It’s an unpredictable league. Any of the big six teams could drop points every week. The Premier League has grown a lot and teams who are normally considered weaker have their own weapons: good players and coaches and this makes the league very competitive. The biggest favourite is probably still Liverpool, because they’re the current champions. Manchester United have improved a lot, but they’re inconsistent. Chelsea spent a lot of money and could also challenge.”
Where would you be happy to finish at the end of the season?
“I’d like to finish in the top half of the table. We’re ninth now and if we finish there then it’ll be a successful year.”